Sonora Police

An unidentified man was found dead shortly after midnight Monday behind the Tuolumne County Senior Center on Greenley Road.

Sonora Police Chief Turu VanderWiel said an autopsy is being conducted by the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Coroner to determine the man’s identity and cause of death, but there were no signs of external injuries or anything to lead them to suspect foul play.

“If it’s determined at any point that there might be foul play, then our agency would head up the investigation,” he said.

VanderWiel said the body was discovered by a person collecting recyclables who went to the police department on South Green Street to report the finding.

Officers arrived at the scene and noticed “obvious signs of death,” VanderWiel said, but they don’t know how long the man had been dead. The senior center is closed to the public due to COVID-19 and staff is not on site over the weekend.

The man didn’t have any identification on him and was believed to be between 55 and 65 years old. VanderWiel said he was lying on a decking area near a chair on the back side of the senior center’s building. 

VanderWiel said they suspect the man may have been homeless based on his appearance and items that were found near him, though he didn’t want to release any details on the possessions to prevent any rumors that could cause someone who knew him undue grief.

Contact Alex MacLean at or (209) 768-5175.

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